There comes a time in the life of many companies when their ability to solve complex business problems is the only thing standing in the way of significant business growth.
These challenges may relate to launching new products or services, opening new global markets or revolutionizing ahead of the competition. They may speak to a tremendous opportunity no one else sees, or a company’s inability to change its culture or delivery systems fast enough to satisfy new customers. Whatever the specific context, business leaders must assess what’s holding them back and what it will take to solve big problems.
Beyond the scope of technology, budget and brand recognition, it’s revealing just how often the path to overcoming challenges boils down to a critical question of executive leadership.
Ponder this question long enough – even for just a few minutes – and you may emerge with a sense that it’s time to restructure, to add fresh talent and perspective, and to attract new leaders to solve new problems. Most times that’s easier said than done. Despite what your HR person may be telling you, finding, engaging and luring the best qualified executives in today’s increasingly competitive talent market requires real market expertise and deep experience.
Simply posting the position on your corporate web site, trolling social media and networking sites for profiles, or adding a critical search to the already stressed workload of an internal recruiter who lacks access to the right candidates and referral sources won’t work. Yes, for most of your vacant positions below the senior management level, these tactics – and others – may indeed produce adequate talent. But when you’re trying to solve big-picture problems or seize potential seismic opportunities for business growth, these tactical, often cost-driven approaches to recruiting good people simply won’t produce the proven leaders your business requires.
Because you require a laser focus on a business problem your organization must solve, it’s time to retain an executive search consultant who brings the surgical skills required to recruit a high-performing executive leader from another company – perhaps one that has already overcome the exact problems you’re trying to master now.
After all, if you’re truly committed to increasing revenue, launching new products or services, improving efficiency or gaining new knowledge about technology or foreign markets, doesn’t it make sense that realizing these business results would require some financial investment?
Retained executive search is far different than typical recruitment; it trades on years of experience, deep business relationships, daily interaction with high performers in a variety of leadership functions, and a keen sense for how the right executives can solve problems – and what they can accomplish doing just that for your company – or worst for one of your competitors.
What would you pay to solve the problems your company is currently facing? What would the financial returns look like for your organization? And what are you ready to commit to achieve those goals?
Retained executive search is the process through which you can find the right people who can help you get there. Yes, this requires a up-front investment, but you get a committed market expert leveraging his or her firm’s established business network to surface the world-class leaders your company needs. The benefit is that a successful search assignment provides you the human capital to solve a particular business problem – or multiple problems – all at once.
The new leader may help you see your market space from an entirely new, global perspective. He or she may help inspire a team that hasn’t been reaching its potential. The new executive will bring his or her own business relationships and open up significant new conversations for your enterprise. And, just as important, he or she may help you attract others who can help you get to where you want to go.
Executive search can be the means to providing the answer if you understand the power of engaging the right messenger to advocate for your company and a particular leadership opportunity on your team. Taking the time required to let the search process run its course and selecting the right executive can quickly put you steps ahead of the competition.
The next time you find yourself wrestling with a complex business problem, stop for a moment and consider that for every challenge your company faces, there exists some executive with the right stuff to solve it – and a search consultant who can sleuth his or her way to bringing them straight to your door!
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Professor Pookong Kee, currently Director of the University of Melbourne's Asia Institute has recently been appointed as the next BHP Chair of Australian Studies at Peking University. Professor Kee brings a unique perspective with his extensive experience at senior levels both in Australia and within Asia. We recently caught up with Professor Kee and discussed emerging issues in higher education in the region.